Refusing Spatial Exclusion: Black Placemaking in the Margins of Brazil’s Capital City


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships


City, Culture & Community


This dissertation is an ethnography of Black freedom practices in the racially segregated peripheries of Brasilia that demonstrates such practices can reshape oppressive cityscapes. In partnership with two local collectives (Casa Akotirene and CMVC), the project co-produces a digital exhibition of a historically marginalized neighborhood, Ceilandia, through family archives and oral history. This digital humanities project combines collective learning, preserving community archives, and intergenerational organizing with youth in broadening the reach of the untold story of Ceilandia. It builds on Black feminism and Black geographies to document and analyze practices of Black placemaking in Brasilia under the theoretical framework of insurgent planning. By gathering and analyzing multiple media data, this dissertation shows sensory dimensions and emotional hues of storytelling and family archives, while the exhibition will serve as a digital meeting ground for the residents of Ceilandia to experience and analyze shared histories of struggle and resistance across Brasilia.